( one of my favorite people in history )
Sep 20, 1963:
Kennedy Proposes Joint Mission To The Moon
~~"An optimistic and upbeat President John F. Kennedy suggests that the Soviet Union and the United States cooperate on a mission to mount an expedition to the moon. The proposal caught both the Soviets and many Americans off guard.
In 1961, shortly after his election as president, John F. Kennedy announced that he was determined to win the "space race" with the Soviets. Since 1957, when the Soviet Union sent a small satellite--Sputnik--into orbit around the earth, Russian and American scientists had been competing to see who could make the next breakthrough in space travel. Outer space became another frontier in the Cold War. Kennedy upped the ante in 1961 when he announced that the United States would put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. Much had changed by 1963, however. Relations with the Soviet Union had improved measurably. The Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 had been settled peacefully. A "hot line" had been established between Washington and Moscow to help avert conflict and misunderstandings. A treaty banning the open air testing of nuclear weapons had been signed in 1963. On the other hand, U.S. fascination with the space program was waning. Opponents of the program cited the high cost of the proposed trip to the moon, estimated at more than $20 billion. In the midst of all of this, Kennedy, in a speech at the United Nations, proposed that the Soviet Union and United States cooperate in mounting a mission to the moon. "Why," he asked the audience, "therefore, should man's first flight to the moon be a matter of national competition?" Kennedy noted, "the clouds have lifted a little" in terms of U.S.-Soviet relations, and declared "The Soviet Union and the United States, together with their allies, can achieve further agreements--agreements which spring from our mutual interest in avoiding mutual destruction."
Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko applauded Kennedy's speech and called it a "good sign," but refused to comment on the proposal for a joint trip to the moon. In Washington, there was a good bit of surprise--and some skepticism--about Kennedy's proposal. The "space race" had been one of the focal points of the Kennedy administration when it came to office, and the idea that America would cooperate with the Soviets in sending a man to the moon seemed unbelievable. Other commentators saw economics, not politics, behind the proposal. With the soaring price tag for the lunar mission, perhaps a joint effort with the Soviets was the only way to save the costly program. What might have come of Kennedy's idea is unknown--just two months later, he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. His successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, abandoned the idea of cooperating with the Soviets but pushed ahead with the lunar program. In 1969, the United States landed a man on the moon, thus winning a significant victory the "space race."
(Boy, did I like these guys!)
Sep 20, 1975:
The Bay City Rollers Make Their U.S. Debut On Saturday Night Live With Howard Cosell
~~"In the autumn of 1975, NBC premiered a brand-new late-night comedy-variety program that in addition to launching the careers of John Belushi, Dan Ackroyd and an entire generation of comic actors, would also give America its first exposure to some of the era's greatest up-and-coming musical acts. That show, however, was not called Saturday Night Live—at least not at first. That name was already taken by a program that premiered a month earlier than NBC's Saturday Night on a competing network, ABC. NBC's Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell made its first broadcast on this day in 1975, featuring a heavily hyped performance by a pop group Cosell compared openly to the Beatles: Scotland's tartan-clad teenybopper sensations the Bay City Rollers.
The Bay City Rollers were making their U.S. television debut in headlining the premiere of Howard Cosell's Saturday Night Live on September 20, 1975, but they were already an enormous phenomenon in the UK, where their every move was being greeted by the kind of hysteria not seen since the height of Beatlemania. All over Great Britain in 1975, teenage girls were dressing in the Rollers' trademark plaid, snapping up records like "I Only Want To Be With You" and "Saturday Night" and screaming dutifully whenever the shag-sporting heartthrobs showed their faces in public. It was scenes exactly like this in 1963 England that inspired Ed Sullivan to bring the Beatles to America for their historic television debut in February 1964. In September 1975, however, the magic would prove more fleeting for Mr. Cosell and his would-be British invaders.
Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell would last only three months before being cancelled, though its host would continue his unique career in broadcasting for another two decades with ABC Sports. The Bay City Rollers, meanwhile, learned the hard way about the risks inherent in staking their success on the affections of the Tiger Beat demographic. Millions of American preteens did go mad about plaid and the irresistible stutter-step rhythm of "Saturday Night," but like most first crushes, Rollermania was intense but brief. Within 18 months of their television debut and their unofficial anointment as America's most kissable new stars, Alan, Derek, Eric, Woody and Les of the Bay City Rollers were at least two crushes old for their once-loyal fan base, whose school binders now proclaimed their love for new acts with names like Shaun Cassidy and Andy Gibb."
(this is kindda pitiful)
Sep 20, 1968:
U.S. Officials Defend Use Of Defoliants
~~"U.S. military spokesmen defend the use of defoliants in Vietnam at a news conference in Saigon, claiming that the use of the agents in selected areas of South Vietnam had neither appreciably altered the country's ecology, nor produced any harmful effects on human or animal life.
However, a paper released at the same news conference by Dr. Fred T. Shirley, a U.S. Agriculture Department expert, suggested that U.S. officials in Saigon were underestimating the extent of ecological damage caused in Vietnam by defoliating agents and that they had caused "undeniable ecological damage" and that "recovery may take a long time." Defoliation had been used in Vietnam since 1961 to reduce the dense jungle foliage so communist forces could not use it for cover, as well as to deny the enemy use of crops needed for subsistence. During a nine-year period ending in 1971, over 19 million gallons of three major herbicides (Agents Orange, White, and Blue) would be used in Vietnam. As part of Operation Ranch Hand, conducted from 1962 to 1970, specially equipped C-123 aircraft sprayed these herbicides in a 300-foot swath about eight and half miles long. It was also applied by helicopter, truck, and hand sprayers. The heaviest use of the defoliants was in the III Corps Tactical Zone north of Saigon and along the Cambodian and Laotian borders. The use of these agents was controversial, both during and after the war, because of the questions about long-term ecological impacts and the effect on humans who were either sprayed or handled the chemicals. Beginning in the late 1970s, Vietnam veterans began to cite the herbicides, especially Agent Orange, as the cause of health problems ranging from skin rashes to cancer and birth defects in their children. Similar problems, including an abnormally high incidence of miscarriages and congenital malformations, have been reported among the Vietnamese people who lived in the areas where the defoliate agents were used."